Ever since Google displayed their test on a billboard in Silicon Valley to attract the best engineers in the world to their vacancy, companies have begun to consider alternative methods of recruitment. Traditionally, if an applicant went to a top university and had received the top grades, they would automatically be placed on the ‘yes’ pile. Nowadays, employers are recognising the importance of discovering whether their candidates possess the necessary skills for their vacancy as soon as possible.
Is education still important?
Of course a good education is still essential for many roles as it reassures you that you’re hiring a candidate with significant knowledge of your industry, providing that their qualifications are relevant to the role you offer. If an applicant has attended one of the top universities in the country and/or has achieved impressive grades in a relevant subject, this not only proves their intelligence, but also that they have a passion for the industry since they chose to study it further and at a higher level.
But is this really enough?
Some employers have taken the qualifications and education side of things too far, using certain standards such as only accepting those from top universities or with the highest degree qualification, as a way of screening the applications they receive. The problem is, although this helps you to whittle down the number of candidates you call in to interview, it doesn’t necessarily leave you with the best ones. This is why it is perhaps best to test their skills and ability to handle the role before you examine their qualifications and allow their education to cloud your judgement.
How can you test for talent first?
Especially for more technical roles, such as the engineering ones Google was looking for, the best candidates are best spotted when asked to complete a complicated task related to the job on offer. Thus, before even seeing evidence of their qualifications, you can be assured that they likely possess the skills they need to succeed in the role. Of course if once you’ve called for their CV they have a good standard of qualifications to boot then it’s a bonus. Such tasks before reviewing qualifications can be used to discover talent in other sectors too. For example, if you need talented writers you could display an opportunity to write a response to a topic related to the role/publication they would be working for. You can examine the entries you receive and ask those who impressed you to attend an interview for your position and to bring their CV along with them. By using this method you can ensure you’re only interviewing candidates who possess the necessary skills and talent to succeed in the job you’re offering.
If you’re unsure about abandoning the traditional method of demanding a CV and cover letter first in order to investigate a candidate’s credentials, then you could always test your applicants in the application form itself. For instance, as well as uploading their CV etc. they would have to take a short technical test or solve a problem that the business is currently facing. Those who have the best scores or provide the best answer are more likely to be truly suitable for the role as they possess skills related to the job as well as the right qualifications.
So if your recruitment strategy is failing to attract talented individuals, why not abandon tradition and instead of requiring a typical application form, set a related task first instead? This can help you to attract candidates who may not have gone to the best university or achieved the highest grades, but who have the talent you need to succeed in the role and help evolve the company.